The music-less

The music-less. 

(remind me to share a little story about why this blog post title makes me giggle…you’ll have to wait until the end of the post for that, though – so stick around!) 

But back to the music-less.
That’s me.

I’m always talking about how I feel such the “odd (wo)man out” when it comes to runner’s – I’m one of few (it seems) that much prefers running music-less.

For the most part that stems from the fact that I *love* to run with my husband (my favorite running coach, rundate buddy and fellow half marathoner in less than 2 weeks!!). We use the time to catch up on our day; or – we run silently, at one with our thoughts, breathing through the hills, taking in the fresh air. Running free. And music-less. 

But something I realized last night during barre n9ne fusion was that I think another reason I love to run music-less is because it helps me to stay zoned in versus zoned out. During class, as I’ve said before, I’ve been really focused on staying present during each session. Focusing on my movements, ensuring that my form is solid (a never-ending work-in-progress in this style of workout, especially), staying “there.”

This is something I’ve been focused on throughout this year – building that mental strength and endurance that has ultimately resulted in an increase in confidence and trust in my body that it can, in fact, do many things I never thought possible (hello 26.2 in 2012?!) before.

But back to the music-less. 

I think even in structured classes like barre n9ne (as well as in other group fitness classes), the music can be hugely beneficial – a great motivator, a way to pump up the energy in the room, or to calm it down during the cool-down. But I think it can also cause that zone out factor, where form suffers and you’re no longer in the moment, focusing on pushing harder, working harder. And that’s where I think music can deter your efforts, without really meaning to.  Why spend all that time and energy working out, sweating like a fiend in each class if you aren’t really “in” it, if you’re not fully present and staying “there”  throughout?  To me, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you zone out for the vast majority of your workouts. At least I know I’d be doing myself one if I allowed the music to transport me away from the work. 

Hence, the music-less. 

But now I’m curious – do you guys see my point about the music-less? Do you see that zone out vs. zone in factor happening in your workouts? Do you try to stay present when you workout or do you use your workouts as an escape? I’m asking because I’m genuinely curious – and because I think we all approach our workouts differently, and there is no “right” or “wrong” way, really. Not for the most part, anyway. This is my long, rambly way of saying – talk to me! 🙂

And if you made it to the end of this rambly blog post (that I’d fully intended to be short, initially, sorry about that!!), here’s my little giggle story on the “music-less” title. When I came up with the title of this post, the first thing it reminded me of was this little cartoon my sis and our college roommates were obsessed with back in college. It was probably one of the first instances of a “viral” video (wow, does that make me sound old or what??) – and it was called the Muffin Films which were these random, but really funny, short cartoons. One of them was called “The Muffin-less.” You can check it out here if you like:

Random? Yes. Kinda hilarious. I think so. 😉

(and I’m pretty sure my sis is giggling away reading this, I’m sure she immediately thought of this the second she saw the blog post title, hehe) 


29 thoughts on “The music-less

  1. I never run with music…it’s my time to either catch up with my husband, be alone with my thoughts or listen to nature. I definitely think music would decrease my ability to focus on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

    I will say, however, that I *do* enjoy the bursts of live music on half marathon routes. 🙂

  2. I prefer to zone out! I guess that is proof that I don’t exactly like to run. If I’m running with another person, I can do it without music, but in a race or by myself, I have to have a carefully crafted playlist. Which reminds me that I need to make one for my 15K tomorrow.

    • Nah, I don’t think that means you don’t like to run – it just means that you like to run more zoned out than zoned in. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all – there is no right or wrong answer here, everyone has a different style! Good luck on your 15k tomorrow!!

  3. I have to be honest–I like music a whole lot more than I like working out. I’m not a fan of most music in the classes I go to ( it gets too repetitive), but when I work out outside a class, making great playlists and getting to test them out is more motivation than a flat stomach or sculpted thighs. Sometimes, if I stayed present, I would stop.

    I also use music to establish a rhythm/pace, as I am rhythmically challenged, lol. I’ve run and worked out without music (usually by accident), but I find that sans music, I usually don’t get the push for the finish. Even when I was at my workout peak, I usually was plugged in (to a discman, then…haha!).

    To each his own.

    • Honestly – if music is what gets you pumped and motivated to workout? I say GO FOR IT, use music as much as you can if it helps you commit to your workouts. For me? I have just found that recently, music-less is more and more my “style” but it’s definitely not for everyone, like you said.

  4. I LOVE music in a group fitness class – I think it’s motivating and fun!
    When I run with someone else I never listen to music, but I do when I run by myself. I like to “zone out” during a solo run. I know this sounds backwards, but it feels good to just be able to zone out – this is my only alone time – I can’t really zone out at home when I have a 9 yr old. 🙂

    • Nah, I don’t think it’s backwards at all – and I hope I don’t sound like I’m a runner who stays zoned in the WHOLE time because I definitely don’t. I just have been trying to focus on being more present in my workouts overall. But, I’m with you on the “me time” and “alone time” during a run – to be one with your thoughts, uninterrupted is a beautiful thing! Zoning in when the going gets tough and you want to push it the last mile or two, that’s when focus time is key, at least it is for me. 🙂

  5. I enjoy music when I workout. I think it perhaps stems from years and years of dance and always having music. However, I do agree, that sometimes totally zoning out isn’t ideal. It might make for a great run, but you can start to lose form, get sloppy. Sometimes tuning into yourself is key.

    • Exactly – it’s just good practice to add focus to your workouts overall; not ALWAYS but not NEVER either. Tuning in and paying attention to your pace, your form, etc., can be eye opening – you’ll suddenly see yourself slouching (or feel it), or notice that your arms are dropping too low during overhead presses, stuff like that – stuff you’d never “see” if you stayed zoned out the entire time.

  6. Um, TOTALLY knew what this was going to end with just by reading the title 😉 HAHA! Harold the muffin! The muffin-less! 😉 Heehee.

    As for your point…it depends for me. With M, I love running without music, of course, but by myself, I have found it is helpful to me, at least right now, as I try to establish my pace more and figure out my breathing, so the zoning out to music distracts me from the breathing stuff so much.

    • LOL finally! Someone who gets my goofy humor. hehe. Oh Harold 😉

      I love that music is helping you get away from your thoughts when you run, and as you get your running mojo back – whatever it takes to get you to turn that overthinking side of that brain OFF is worth it!! I do think that running music-less has a time and a place (like during a rundate!), too – like you said. And I also like zoning in during barre n9ne versus letting the music take me to another planet during the particularly tough moments (there are many!) in class (hello gray evil balls!). Though I DO love the barre n9ne music overall, I must say. 😉

  7. I have become a music-less runner but didn’t start out that way. About a month ago I was about to go out on a long run of 10 miles, and I was putting my earphones in my wife said ‘why don’t you go and not use those, and listen to nature instead’. It was a great run. It opened up a whole new world. I was able to actually able to focus on my stride and breathing waaay better than ever before. It’s helped me become a better runner.

    • That is awesome! What a great feeling – to get out there for a long run and find that it can be really peaceful and centering to run quietly for a change of pace. So cool that you’ve become a better runner for it. Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. When I first tried running back in the day (like, 10 years ago!) I never ran with music because it simply wasn’t an option. It wasn’t until I started running again last year that I became so dependent on it. I dont know why or what shifted but sometimes I forget my iPod and I don’t miss it at all. Maybe I need to work on prying myself away from it…at least on my shorter runs. Good stuff here!

    • LOL ‘back in the day’ – you crack me up, but you also make a good point! iPods weren’t the norm years ago, right??

      If you find that you don’t miss it when you forget your iPod, I think you should see how it feels to run music-less more often, you might surprise yourself!

  9. For me, it really depends on the type of run I am doing. Sometimes I want to run so I CAN zone out. I love putting on music to help me do this. Different music for different moods or types of runs….upbeat hip-hop for tempo runs, Avett Brothers or Needtobreathe for longer, slower runs. Sometimes I leave the headphones at home and I use that time running to meditate or pray. If I am running with my run group I also leave the music off. Or if I am in the last mile and I really want to push myself, I turn off the music and get super focused…and I hold nothing back!

    • Ohh another good point – the type of run you’re after and when you use music vs. not using music. I hadn’t thought about it that way! I also like how you turn off the music at the end of your run so you can really focus on killing it at the end!

  10. You are adorbs. I remember the first time I ran without music was because you can’t in triathlons, rude wake up call. however, I found that I loved it. Too often I get hung up on a crappy song or trying to find the perfect song and you can really get out of your zone.

    And yes, funny and random!!

    • Haha, I’m glad you appreciate my sense of humor 😉

      I didn’t know you can’t use music in triathalons, who knew? But kind of a neat way to figure out that you don’t necessarily “need” your music to run!

  11. The beauty about running is that it is such an individualistic thing. It’s essentially impossible to compare your running style and preferences to anyone else because no 2 people are the same. I have friends who run without and friends who do. I do most of my running alone so I prefer to use music. I have different play lists for the type of run that I’m doing. The tempo of the music helps me find my cadence for that particular workout. When I’m running with friends, we have a discussion beforehand about whether we are running with or without music. The music isn’t much of a distraction for me, it’s more of a motivation – the lyrics inspire me and actually help me visualize and focus on what my goals are for that day.

    • Totally spot-on my friend – running in particular is a really personal thing and a really tough mental and physical workout so you truly do have to figure out what works for you and just roll with it. Every run is different, just like every runner is different!

  12. I used to *only* run with music. There was no other way. Now, however, I don’t listen to music at all, unless I’m on the dreadmill. There really is something about listening to yourself versus someone else.

    • I think I’d probably listen to music on the dreadmill if I didn’t have a TV at home to watch while running on it; that’s the only time I probably would opt for music – anything to “take me away” from the dreadmill dread LOL!

  13. I do it all – I zone out, I think, I listen to music, I go without music.

    I am truly thinking about it now, though. My best ten miler a couple weeks ago was music-less because my iPod died. I didn’t think of music until the last mile when I started singing one of my go-to songs in my head.

    Hmmm… Hnmmmmmmm…now you’ve got me thinking. I’m going to run w/o music more often and see what happens.

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